Poster awards for contributions to the recycling of plastics and improved treatment of cancer patients

Dennis Müller and Alexandra Prokhorova, young scientists at the Plastics Engineering and Biosignal Processing Groups at TU Ilmenau, have been honored for their poster contributions at the Young Scientists Competition on Engineering Day at Allianz THÜRING. The two convinced the online audience voting with the presentation of their work on recycling plastics and improving hyperthermia treatment for cancer patients.

Young woman with certificate and flowers standing in front of a scientific poster Thomas Müller
Award winner Alexandra Prokhorova in front of her poster

After the first Engineering Day 2021 had taken place at TU Ilmenau, the Alliance of Thuringian Engineering Sciences invited Thuringian engineers  to a theme day under the motto "transformING" at the Bauhaus University Weimar on June 29. The focus was on the interdisciplinary exchange of Thuringian engineers on research, teaching and transfer, in particular new technologies such as 360° applications, virtual product development and artificial intelligence (AI) as well as sustainable solutions for the environment, energy, transport and construction. Among others, Prof. Matthias Hein presented the Thuringian Innovation Center for Mobility (ThIMo) at TU Ilmenau, students reported on their participation in the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 in Glasgow, and scientists presented current research projects and innovative teaching concepts. TU Ilmenau participated with a keynote speech by Prof. Anja Geigenmüller on the topic of "Shaping transfer between science and business - considerations, findings, conclusions" as well as sessions on the topics of "Makerspaces, UNIKAT, start-up service: project-based teaching in engineering" (Dr. Nicola Henze, Sabine Fincke, Sophia Isabella Guzmán Artmann), "Hybrid teaching and learning environment for virtual product development" (Prof. Stephan Husung) and "Science communication for the energy transition" (Prof. Jens Wolling).

The highlight of the event was the poster competition followed by an elevator pitch in the afternoon: A total of 19 doctoral students, research associates and master's students from various Thuringian universities participated with their research topics. The audience decided online with over 400 votes - from Argentina to the United States - which presentations were the most convincing.

In the end, Dennis Müller, research assistant at the Plastics Engineering Group, and Alexandra Prokhorova, research assistant at the Biosignal Processing Group at TU Ilmenau, won prizes for their posters on "Quality-Loop for Plastic Injection Molding Processes " and "Electromagnetic Device for Hyperthermia Treatment Monitoring", respectively.

Saving energy and resources

In his 2nd prize-winning poster, Dennis Müller presents the Quality-Loop joint project, in which faulty components are detected at an early stage by linking several sensor data. According to Dennis Müller, the combination and coordination of different sensors is essential:

For example, an air pocket in a colored component cannot be detected by a photoelectric camera. Only by means of a load cell, i.e. a special form of force sensor, and an imaging process for displaying the surface temperature, known as thermography, can the defect be precisely assigned, so that an assistance system developed for this purpose can suggest recommended actions to the machine user in order to rectify the defect.

In this way, energy, resources and working time can be saved. Thus, the project headed by Professor Florian Puch, which is being carried out in collaboration with the companies Steinbeis Qualitätssicherung und Bildverarbeitung GmbH and Kunststoff- und Holzverarbeitungswerk GmbH (KHW), is contributing to the green and digital recovery of the economy.

Innovative approach to temperature estimation

In her third prize-winning poster, Alexandra Prokhorova presented her investigations towards development of medical system for microwave imaging guided hyperthermia treatment. Hyperthermia is a thermal therapy which is used together with radiotherapy and chemotherapy to improve the outcome of cancer treatment by slight heating of the tumor region and therefore increasing its radiosensitivity and drug response.

To provide non-invasive temperature monitoring, that is without probes inserted into the body, and to improve effectiveness of hyperthermia application, Prokhorova's work suggests an ultra-wideband radar based temperature estimation approach. The laboratory prototype is a hybrid, combining both heating and sensing parts in it. Alexandra’s findings are based on her 3-year participation in the EU project EMERALD, led by Dr. Marko Helbig. The scientific goal of the project is to accelerate the transition from research in medical microwave imaging to clinical prototypes.


Alexandra Dalek

Graduate Center